Former FAA Administrator Flew For Eastern Airlines For 25 Years
Southwest Airlines has named J. Randolph "Randy" Babbitt (pictured) as Senior Vice President of Labor Relations to direct and oversee the carrier's labor related activities. Babbitt will report directly to Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven and have responsibility for all negotiation, communication, and ongoing relationships between the Company and the eleven organizations that represent 87 percent of Southwest Employees.
"For more than 40 years, Southwest has thrived because of our regard for labor organizations as partners," Van de Ven said. "Randy's unique skills and experience at various levels in our industry can only strengthen those partnerships to ensure our Employees continue to play an important role in Southwest's success."
Mike Ryan, Southwest's Vice President of Labor Relations, and the Labor Relations Team will report to Babbitt.
Babbitt began his aviation career as a pilot, flying 25 years for Eastern Airlines. A skilled negotiator, he served as President and CEO for US ALPA, the world's largest professional organization of airline pilots. While at ALPA, he championed the "One Level of Safety" initiative implemented in 1995 to improve safety standards across the industry. He also promoted the international expansion of ALPA through a merger with the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association in 1997.
Babbitt later served as the FAA's sixteenth administrator from June 2009 through December 2011 after more than eight years on the agency's Management Advisory Council providing guidance to other Administrators on a range of topics ranging from air traffic modernization to regulatory policy and safety oversight within the airline industry and the FAA. He was recognized by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine with the Laurels Award for outstanding achievement in the Commercial Air Transport category.